Shane Williams says playing days 'gone' after rejecting Merthyr

Shane Williams played his last Test for Wales in December 2011 against Australia
Shane Williams played his last Test for Wales in December 2011 against Australia

Former Wales wing Shane Williams says his playing days are over after rejecting an offer from Merthyr RFC.

The Welsh Championship club have signed Wales forward Andy Powell, but failed to recruit former British and Irish Lions star Williams.

Wales' record try-scorer hopes to combine his television punditry with a coaching career in the future.

"I miss playing rugby but those days are gone. Merthyr was a little step too far," Williams told BBC Wales Sport.

"I was approached by [coach] Lee Jarvis and [benefactor] Sir Stanley Thomas to see whether I would like to be involved in a coaching capacity as well as a playing capacity.

"It was very tempting and it's a good club that's looking to progress but, for the time being, I'm very busy with family commitments.

"I do want to be a coach. Is it next week? No it's not. Maybe in the near future you'll see me coaching but, for the moment, I think I've got enough on my plate."

Williams, 38, scored 58 tries in 87 Tests for Wales before calling time on his international career in 2011.

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Sir Stanley Thomas' vision for Merthyr RFC

The former Ospreys wing would have been the highest-profile signing so far for Merthyr, who also attempted but failed to recruit Wales hooker Matthew Rees.

"He [Williams] was too committed with his television work," Merthyr's benefactor Thomas said.

"He really wanted to come here, as did Matthew Rees, who I think has made a big mistake by not joining us because ours was a three-year contract and he's got a one-year deal with Cardiff Blues.

"Shane would have been the capture... we've been talking now for two weeks, an excellent offer was on the table for him. However, he's just too committed."

Williams played in four Tests for the Lions, scoring two tries, and played for clubs including Amman United RFC, Neath, Ospreys and Mitsubishi Dynaboars in Japan.

He returned home earlier this year after three years in Japanese rugby, and said his focus would be on coaching, as well as punditry.

Multi-millionaire Thomas, the brother of Cardiff Blues chairman Peter, has invested in Merthyr to help the club strengthen on and off the field in order to gain admission to the Premiership.

The semi-pro Premiership will be expanded from 12 to 16 clubs from 2016-17, with the top four Championship sides with an A licence going up at the end of next season.

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